Project Type: Capstone at Brainstation
Timeframe: 10 weeks
Role: UX Researcher, UX/Ui Designer, User Testing
While completing the BrainStation UX Bootcamp, I had to complete an end-to-end UX design project. This project included finding a problem space, conducting secondary and primary research, synthesizing research findings, wireframing, branding, user testing, and user interface design.
After conducting research and interviewing users, I developed inklas, an app that allows users to connect with tattoo artists that share their values. Inklas helps people organize their tattoo ideas and aspirations and discover artists that work in their area.
Tattooing is a process that demands a great amount of trust and safety between the client and the artist. Clients often look for artists based on their skill, but they also want someone they can relate to culturally and through experiences. Even though the tattoo industry is dominated by white men, the majority of people getting tattoos are a completely different demographic.
Even though women make up 59% of the tattoo market, only 25% of tattoo artists are female. Only 10% of tattoo artists are black, which creates a huge problem as many people within the industry point out that white artists lack an understanding of how to properly tattoo darker skinned individuals. Non-black tattoo artists are notorious for turning away darker skinned people or omitting them from their portfolios.
How might we help connect inclusive tattoo artists and clients together in order to increase a community of security?
I believe that creating a network for marginalized people seeking tattoos, will achieve a safer, more inclusive community.
I will know I’m right when I see the following feedback from the market:
- They want to know more details about an artist before they get tattooed
- They mostly return to people they know because they feel it's safer
- They look for artists within their own communities because that makes them feel safer
I conducted a series of interviews to better understand the obstacles users face when trying to find an artist and how artists can foster trust with their clients. For this, I sought out people who identified within a marginalized group (black, indigenous, people of colour, lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual, or female identifying) who were tattooed. I conducted a total of 4 interviews and mapped out the interviewees pain points, motivations, and behaviours.
- The love of collecting art
- Expressing one's values and culture
- It's difficult to find tattoo artists
- Not being transparent creates trust issues
- Some people are unwilling or don't know how to tattoo darker skin tones
- Finding artists through friend's recommendations
- Gravitating towards artists who shared the user's culture or identity
Trust is pivotal for selecting a tattoo artist and can be built through transparency and engaging with their community.
There's a lack of transparency or information available on how different skin types handle inks
Being aware of red flags and problematic people within the tattoo industry can help to protect clients
Based on the insights of these interviews, I developed a persona to bring life to these themes and to create a personality I can empathise with.
With the persona in mind, I created an Experience Map that shows the different steps users currently take to get a tattoo. The Experience Map allows me to identify areas of the experience that can be changed or improved.
User stories identify potential features and functionalities that users would need or enjoy. Grouping user stories into epics allowed me to define features within the app develop a clear task flow.
I created a task flow diagram that described the different screens within the app. The task flow helps me to better understand how the user will go from one screen to the next and complete a task. Pulling from the epics of searching for a tattoo artist information, created a flow of searching for an artist, reviewing their profile, and booking a consultation with them.
With the task flow created, I began working on sketches to start defining the screens used in the app. Exploratory sketches are used to try different layouts and see different expressions of functionalities. Once different possibilities are explored, I created solution sketches to excavate the best qualities of the exploratory sketches. I paid close attention to the artist profile page, as it would be a challenge to include a lot of information without overwhelming the user.
Low Fidelity Wireframes
With the lo-fi prototype I could start testing sooner and iterate designs with my new learnings. My objects with user testing, were to identify any areas that lacked clarity or that were over complicated. I completed 5 sessions of user testing, applied the feedback that I received to the design, and followed this process once again. I totalled in 10 user testing sessions and three iterations of the flow.
During primary research phase, users expressed that they were interested in finding trustworthy, artists operating in safe spaces. With this in mind, it was imperative that my brand creates a sense of security and and integrity. Many tattooing brands go for edgy and dark imagery, but to create a warm and inclusive environment I went in a softer direction.
I worked with InkStar in my initial wordmark sketches. The name sounded interesting but the use of the word "Star" didn't add any real value to my product. Other names I looked at were Inko, Inkling, Inkly, and Inkme. Unfortunately all these names were already used for apps. I finally decided on Inklas a combination of ink and atlas, which helps to describe my app.
In traditional or old-school tattoo styles bright, vibrant colours such as red, teal/green, yellow, and orange are used. As an homage to this style I've kept with the red and teal colours but softened them to bring the app's ambiance back to one of inclusivity.
I was looking at different sans serifs fonts to use in the app. It was important that I chose a font that wasn't too ornate but that had a softness to to it. After trying multiple fonts, the best suited ended up being Lato. For my wordmark font I was looking at combine sharp and soft fonts together, and finding fonts that made "i" or "k" visually striking.
With the name of the app being inklas (with a lower case "i"), I looked for fonts that could put emphasis on each letter of the word. Calistoga had a friendly and nostalgic feel to it. I also reworked the font, creating a break in the "K" and made some of the serifs sharper to allude to needles used in the tattoo process.
After weeks of research, planning, and ideation, I put together a prototype. This prototype was created with Figma and is meant to show the flow of booking a consultation with an artist
A login screen was added as an additional branding opportunity. The swoosh graphic is meant to emulate the linework of a tattoo
The home screen is a content feed that draws some similarities to Instagram, to utilize familiarity and pre-existing mental models
The search screen allows users to search by style, location, and theme. Users can also add search terms together to find exactly what they want
A gallery search result allows the user to scan through different images and quickly find something that resonates with them
A user can enlarge an image, save, like, or follow the tattoo artist. They can also go to the artist's profile from here
The user can see everything they need to know about a tattoo artist: how they work, what kind of work they do, and if they can book an appointment
Users can comb through an artists portfolio to see their unique style and find inspiration
Users can leave an anonymous review so other's can better understand if this artist will be a good match for them
The Frequently Asked section gives tattoo artists a chance to clarify their booking information and any common questions asked by users
Book a Tattoo
Users can book a tattoo through the app directly. They can message the artist or send the artist their tattoo request with all relevant material to the artist
Users can check schedule, cancel, and check their consultations and appointments
Alongside my app, I designed a marketing website that can give users a better understanding of the functionalities of inklas. The marketing website also allows me to broaden my visual identity and brand.
Platform Design Challenge
As a design challenge, I reformatted inklas for ipad. Looking at how the Ui elements would fit together on a different screen, I redesigned the app to show more imagery and moved the navigation to the side of the screen.
Using the tarot cards of tech helped me to think of different possibilities and futures for inklas. The Forgotten card, prompting the designer to think about any users left out in the product development, really spoke to me as I knew there were still a few types of users that needed to be considered in the whole ecosystem of inklas.
Users getting their first tattoo need their own resources to better understand the process and language used in the industry. A walkthrough or guide could be added to help people who are still figuring things out.
Tattoo artists also play a huge role in the app's success. Making sure their interface and functionality makes sense for them will be key. Streamlining their profile set up will help in making sure users don't give up on the app. Integrating the Instagram as a way to fill out their portfolio quickly could be a really important time saver.